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Marrakesh Treaty

What will the marrakesh treaty mean for the NNELS Library if it is ratified. Will it give you & clients much more access to material? Was reading when Canada ratified the agreement.

Hello whitewater,

Sorry for the delay. I wanted to understand more about the topic before I replied to your question, and I still feel like I only have some of the pieces.

The short answer to your question: at the end of this process, assuming everything goes ahead and Canada ratifies the Marrakesh Treaty along with a number of other countries, NNELS users will benefit from improved access to accessible format materials published internationally.

Here’s a longer answer for some context, because Canada hasn't actually ratified the Treaty yet:

1. Even though the government has expressed an interest in doing so, the Marrakesh Treaty itself has not yet been signed or ratified by Canada (according to the Treaty's list of contracting parties -- an interesting list to read). From what I understand, the Copyright Act amendments have to pass first, and then Canada can sign and ratify or accede to the Treaty.

2. The Copyright Act amendments are being brought forward in the federal government’s Bill C-65 (“Support for Canadians with Print Disabilities Act”). This federal Bill basically kicks off the process of getting to ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty and you can read the text of the Bill here.

3. With the election coming up, I don’t think many people are feeling very positive about Bill C-65 becoming law anytime soon. That said, I haven’t heard anyone say that the Bill's being passed is impossible in 2015, so maybe that’s a message to take to your MP this summer.

4. For the Treaty to become a legal instrument, twenty countries have to ratify it. So far, even though many countries have signed, only eight have ratified: Argentina, El Salvador, India, Mali, Paraguay, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay.

So, between the upcoming election, and the need for twenty countries to ratify the Treaty, I think we’re still some time away from having facilitated international exchange of accessible-format books.

That said, I think we may be able to assume that it will be quite unpopular for any elected federal government to back away from ratification, particularly now that the idea has been introduced at the parliamentary level. So, I think we should begin planning for a future in which international exchange can happen.

Happy to be set straight by anyone who has a better understanding of the topic!

Just in case it's useful, here is the text of WIPO's Marrakesh Treaty in HTML, PDF, Braille, MP3, and DAISY format.

Thank you for posting your question here.


Sabina Iseli-Otto

NNELS Support

1-888-848-9250, option 5

Thank you for your response. That answered a lot. Yes hope it will be fully ratified soon. Would it make exchanging of accessible books easier to obtain from the us too if they join as well.


Like you, I hope this treaty makes it easier to exchange accessible-format books with other countries, including the United States. If we hear any news, we'll post it here, and hope you'll do the same. Thank you again for asking an important question.

Already an update for you! I just saw on the list of contracting parties that Mexico ratified the Marrakesh Treaty on July 29th, bringing the total number of countries up to 9 (twenty are needed for the Treaty to be in force).